Just as every therapist is different, every Recovery Coach is different. For instance, I choose to work with clients who are clean and sober, and other coaches may work with those who are trying to get sober. At this time screening tools are being developed to help potential clients determine if they’re good candidates to benefit from coaching. The ICF suggests that to be successfully coached clients with a character compass must be able to partner with a coach and to develop specific goals.
What gives your life meaning? Can be a daunting question, but the coaching process encourages clients to examine big ticket items such as joy, purpose and balance. Questions such as: What do you really, really want? Shapes the course of the coaching process. It’s interesting to note that the Positive Psychology community supports the efforts of coaching through its research of topics such as gratitude, forgiveness and resiliency. Dr. Martin Seligman who coined the term Positive Psychology describes it as the science of What Makes Life Worth Living.
Once you choose to live an addiction-free life, a blank canvas appears where you get to design your future paths. With the guidance of coaches, sponsors, therapists and trusted confidants, you clear away the cobwebs of the past, become more aware of the essence of who you are and move forward with purpose and direction in this next chapter of your life and recovery.
These tools will give you a flavor of what Recovery Coaching is:
1. Take a Joy Inventory
How many of us stop to look at what’s going right in our lives? A joy inventory is a chance to recall what has brought you joy in the past, what brings you joy currently and how you would like to invite more joy and fun into your future.
Write down all the joys of the past and present. After brainstorming the past, make a list of all the fun, joyful, fulfilling people, places and experiences you would like to invite into your life from now on.
Note: Because many people in recovery forget how to have sober fun, this exercise challenges you to create more balance in your life.
2. Get Clear and Take Purposeful Action
Now that you’ve written down what brings you joy, take one item from your list and be even more specific. For example, a client of mine wanted to spend more time at the beach because she felt lighter and more playful by the water. After brainstorming ways of creating more quality time at the beach, she decided that she wanted to spend time at the beach weekly with a friend. Throwing a Frisbee, walking her dog, putting her feet in the water were all listed as possible activities and she decided she wanted to set up “playdates” for herself with a friend each week.
Note: You may consider bookending your intention. For example, let someone you trust know about your intention for weekly beach time. Go ahead and take that action and let this same accountability person know when you’ve completed it. Bookending is a tool of accountability.
3. Create your Vision
What do you really want in this next chapter of your life is motivation and your recovery. Let go of any of the shoulds or supposed, and take time now to write about what you want in the following areas: friends, family, career, money, spirituality, health, fun, love and romance. Don’t hold back even if you think it’s not possible now. Give shape and voice to your vision of life 1 year from now. (If 1 year feels too long, shorten the timeline to 90 days.)
Coaching asks you to stretch beyond your comfort zone while keeping your feet firmly on the ground. With joy comes purpose, and as you open your heart to purposeful recovery, you’ll find more meaning, intention and direction in everything you think or say or do.